Beyond the Backyard

Bok Tower in Bloom

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Lily Bloom

A few weeks ago I spent a Saturday morning at Bok Tower, a wonderful garden in Lake Wales, Florida.  It was architected by Frederick Law Olmstead and  dedicated by President Coolidge in 1929.  The tower itself is fun to photograph, but what attracted me was the possibility of migrant warblers.  I seem to find a lot of them on good days.  There was also a Rufous Hummingbird that visited there last year, and I was curious to see if one had returned this year.  The great thing is that even on a slow bird day, Bok Tower in bloom is gorgeous and a fun place for flower photography! The hummingbirds typically are easiest to find at the firebush near the Window By the Pond, so I headed there first.  On my way I saw several tiny birds flitting high in the treetops, but they didn’t stay still long enough for me to focus on them.  I suspect I saw my first-of-fall warblers.  The cheerful calls of hummingbirds echoed all over the place as they squabbled in mid-air.  When I got to the Window by the Pond, it took me about five seconds to find a Rufous, who seemed to enjoy […]

Beyond the Backyard

For My Mom

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Happy B-Day to my mom! Here are the hummer pictures I promised you from Bok. As you can see, our juvie Rufous is turning into a little boy. Look at the red under his throat! He continues to guard the firebushes from the other hummingbirds. I took a little video of him on one of his favorite perches. It’s amazing how active these little guys are, even when they are sitting still. Listen closely and you’ll hear the sounds of other hummers nearby. Video best viewed in Safari or Firefox

Beyond the Backyard

My First Rufous Hummingbird

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This morning I headed to Bok Tower to search for hummingbirds and migrants. The gardens staff have worked hard to attract hummingbirds to the area, and they have certainly succeeded. I’ve never seen so many hummers there before. Clumps of hummingbird friendly plants are tucked all throughout the gardens, especially red salvias and firebush. I knew of a particularly large clump of firebush near the Window by the Pond, so I headed there first. And out hopped my first Rufous Hummingbird into the open to perch on a nice branch for me! I couldn’t believe my luck. It was such fun to watch these tiny birds swarming all over the firebush. I think there were several Rufous, but it was hard to tell because this gal (female? juvenile?) was being very territorial. She had claimed the biggest firebush, and she wasn’t about to let any other hummer nectar from it. Much fussing ensued. I could hear the whoosh! of their wings as they flew and fought with each other. After awhile, I watched them land back in the same places, perched in the tall oak trees above the firebush. They are pretty predictable little birds. And such fun to photograph!